“So! Do You Have Any Questions For Me?”

Acing a job interview isn’t merely about being able to reply, in a sensible and capable-seeming way, to questions, no matter how jarring. It’s also about posing sensible and capable-seeming questions yourself, according to a CEO writing for Inc. Doing so can prompt a real and memorable conversation and make the interviewer think, “‘Hey, we are already working together …’ In my 20-plus years in the recruitment industry, I am still surprised by how rare this crucial conversation is in a job interview.”

In case you yourself can’t conceive of something insightful to ask on the spot, Inc. recommends eight general questions, including, “Who would my colleagues be?” and “How does the company measure success?” Vague but pleasing.

And, don’t stop:

Repeat your questions for each hiring manager you meet, because you will get different responses from different people. As a CEO, I am often the last person in the round of interviews. It happens time and time again that I will say, “Do you have any questions for me?” and get a polite “No, I got a lot of my questions answered.”

I didn’t get my questions answered though. Keep the conversation going. If you want to work for my company, you have to ask for it.

Sometimes the questions I want to ask during a job interview are not the most politic ones.

Does the board get along with the CEO?

Do the company have a strategic plan? 

What is the company culture when it comes to work-life balance?

Does anyone telecommute? Does EVERYONE telecommute on, say, Fridays, meaning the office will feel like a bombed-out shopping mall 20% of the time?

Does the CEO like to fire people? How often do people leave voluntarily? Quick: can you name everyone who left in the past year alone? Is there a focus on employee retention, beyond the occasional Field Day or birthday cake? 

Sure, the hours are 10:00 to 6:00, but what are the *real* hours, the hours at which we are expected to be at our desks?

Do we even have desks?

How unhappy is my supervisor? 

How soon do you anticipate we will all be replaced by robots?

In the end, it doesn’t matter that much what you ask, as long as you appear to have initiative and be an engaged participant in the interview. But you might learn something useful anyway.

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